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SmartOS banner and console login
DeveloperMNX Solutions
Written inC
OS familyUnix (SysV)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source, on GitHub[1]
Available inEnglish
Package managerpkgsrc
Kernel typeMonolithic
Official Edit this at Wikidata

SmartOS is a free and open-source SVR4 hypervisor based on the UNIX operating system that combines OpenSolaris technology with Linux's KVM virtualization.[2] Its core kernel contributed to the illumos project.[3] It features several technologies: Crossbow, DTrace, KVM, ZFS, and Zones.[4][5] Unlike other illumos distributions, SmartOS employs NetBSD pkgsrc package management.[6] SmartOS is designed to be particularly suitable for building clouds and generating appliances.[7] It was originally developed for and by Joyent, who announced in April 2022 that they had sold their business supporting and developing it to MNX Solutions.[8] It is open-source and free for anyone to use.

SmartOS is an in-memory operating system and boots directly into random-access memory. It supports various boot mechanisms such as booting from hard drive, USB thumbdrive, ISO Image, or over the network via PXE boot. One of the many benefits of employing this boot mechanism is that operating system upgrades are trivial, simply requiring a reboot from a newer SmartOS image version.[9]

SmartOS follows a strict local node storage architecture. This means that virtual machines are stored locally on each node and do not boot over the network from a central SAN or NAS. This helps ensure that network latency issues are eliminated as well as to preserve node independence. Multi-node SmartOS clouds can be managed via the open-source[10] Joyent Triton DataCenter[11] (formerly known as SmartDataCenter[12]) cloud orchestration suite or via the Project Fifo[13] Open Source SmartOS Cloud management platform built on Erlang.

In 2012, Joyent and MongoDB Inc. (formerly 10gen) partnered to improve the scalability of SmartOS.[14]


SmartOS includes a number of virtualization technologies, including:

  • Zones, a light weight operating system-level virtualization; analogous to "jails" or "containers" as provided by other systems
  • Hardware virtualization

Native Zones[edit]

Native zones provide an isolated SmartOS environment to run your applications in, like having a virtual machine without the hypervisor overhead.

LX (Linux Emulation)[edit]

LX-branded zones provide the Linux system call interface, allowing you to run most Linux application binaries without recompiling them for SmartOS. This facility is available in several distributions, including Illumos, SmartOS and OmniOS.


KVM and QEMU were ported to SmartOS in 2011, and can be used on Intel CPUs with VMX and EPT support.


The Bhyve hypervisor from FreeBSD was ported to SmartOS. This is the preferred virtualization when required to use HVM for Windows or Linux guests.


  1. ^ "Smart OS live", Joyent, GitHub.
  2. ^ Frommel, Oliver. "SmartOS Weds Open Solaris to Linux KVM Virtualization". Admin magazine. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  3. ^ illumos-joyent, April 2015
  4. ^ SmartOS.
  5. ^ Miller, Colleen (Aug 15, 2014). "Joyent Open Sources SmartOS for the Cloud". Data Center Knowledge. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  6. ^ "Joyent Packages Documentation - Home".
  7. ^ "SmartOS brings KVM to the Solaris kernel". H online.
  8. ^ "A New Chapter Begins for Triton and SmartOS". Joyent. April 11, 2022. Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  9. ^ Trent, Slater. "SmartOS Fundamentals". SmartCore. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Joyent open-sources its core technology". Infoworld. Nov 6, 2014. Retrieved Sep 20, 2015.
  11. ^ Triton, Sep 3, 2014
  12. ^ Triton: Docker and the "best of all worlds", March 24, 2015
  13. ^ Gies, Heinz. "Project FiFo SmartOS Project". Project FiFo. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Joyent and 10gen Strengthen Partnership Around MongoDB and SmartOS". Finance. Yahoo!. Oct 16, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2013.

External links[edit]